It’s a proverb as old as Chris Chelios’ shoulder pads: What the forward on the power play point giveth, the forward on the power play point taketh away.
Indeed, the Hawks jumped out to an early lead Friday night in Colorado, thanks to a Dustin Byfuglien point shot on the power play. Then, just a few minutes later, Duncan Keith worked a give-and-go with Kris Versteeg, who was camped out behind the Avalanche net. Keith hit Versteeg with a pass, and Versteeg quickly found Keith coming through the slot. Keith put it past Barrington native Craig Anderson to double the young Hawk lead.
It wouldn’t last.
With less than two minutes left in the first frame, hard work by Matt Duchene’s group forced a Blackhawk icing. During the ensuing play, Ryan O’Reilly undid half of the Hawks’ solid period.
It would only get worse.
After a slow start to the second period, Adam Foote had a plan; he would take a roughing penalty in an effort to force a Blackhawk forward to the position of defense. And, Joel Quenneville fell right into his trap. A minute into the power play, David Jones undressed forward-turned-pointman Dustin Byfuglien on his way to the net. (Byfuglien later admitted to believing Jones, the Colorado winger, was the immortal pirate with the same name from Pirates of the Caribbean. He certainly treated him as such as Jones came down on him.)
Just a minute later, O’Reilly scored his second of the game to give the ‘Lanche its first lead of the night.
Later in the frame, following a solid Blackhawk power play, Andrew Ladd found himself alone in front of Anderson with a Patrick Sharp rebound on his stick. He slipped the tying goal behind the Avalanche goalie.
The third would come and go without a goal; as would overtime. Then, the Hawks and Avalanche found themselves in familiar territory: a shootout. Unfortunately, this one wouldn’t end with an Andrew Ladd game winner. This one would start with a Patrick Kane – the first shooter – goal, but would see Versteeg, Sharp, Tomas Kopecky, Andrew Ladd, who hit the post, Cam Barker and Dustin Byfuglien miss. Marek Svatos would score for the ‘Lanche to take it to “extra innings” – as Pat Foley calls it – and Chris Steward would score to win. The goal came in the eighth shootout round.
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— That is why I don’t enjoy watching forwards on the power play point – and why anyone who thinks Byfuglien should be a defenseman is on acid.
— Annti Niemi would get kicked out of Morehouse College with those hockey pants sagging off his hips. Pull those pants up.
— Did anyone hear the Blackhawk dads were also taken on the trip? Huh, hadn’t heard.
— Mike Haviland’s complexion looks much better this season. No longer does he look like a teenage girl with acne who’d been crying for an hour. Good for him.
— Hold on. The dads were on the trip?
— Maybe Patrick Sharp’s dad should have stayed in Ontario. Sharp had 346 chances combined in Phoenix and Colorado and had no goals. He missed the net 87 times.
— Andrew Ladd received a scare when he took a skate boot to the face in the third. It appeared that Ladd was lucky enough to avoid the skate blade, but that the boot broke his nose. He returned. After all, he’s a hockey player.
— Tomas Kopecky continues to be a different player recently. One thing’s for sure, though: he’s not a fourth line player. And, in this case, that may actually not be a good thing.
— With Dave Bolland out, Versteeg centered Kane and Ladd; Andrew Ebbett was in between Sharp and Byfuglien; and Madden centered Troy Brouwer and Kopecky. Colin Fraser, Bryan Bickell and Jordan Hendry formed the fourth line.
— The Hawks outshot the ‘Lanche 32 to 22.